The Indian city of Varanasi (previously called Banaras) is an ancient pilgrimage spot for Hindus to bathe in the Ganges River to wash away their sins — as well as die. This lush documentary explores the sensual and spiritual atmosphere of Varanasi, capturing locals and devotees on pilgrimages crowding the ghats (stone steps) leading down to the Ganges River. Death is not to be feared in India; it is celebrated as the gateway to heaven and achieve enlightenment. Historians, priests and locals discuss their culture as the boats glide by and Varanasi's ancient streets bustle with vendors and funeral processions.
...this river, or this city, if a person dies here, it is said to be that he is put in the heaven and he is not to come back to this earth again. So that's the main aim. The main aim, according to the Indian mythology, is not to be happy on this earth, but the main aim is to be happy above the earth.– A devotee explains the significance of the Ganges River and Varanasi